Arsenal will earn an additional €4.5m should they overcome Villarreal tonight and reach the Europa League final.
Mikel Arteta’s side trail 2-1 following last week’s first leg, in which they struggled for large parts but earned a big lifeline through Nicolas Pepe’s second-half penalty.
The Gunners have made just over €16m from the campaign so far but that pales in comparison to the money going to the Champions League finalists – who will clear more than €100m.
Yet the carrot of winning the competition remains huge considering it is an avenue into the Champions League.
While the winners get an extra €4m on top of the €4.5m for reaching the showpiece, merely participating in the Champions League is would be worth a minimum €30m based on this season’s prize money and Arsenal’s coefficient ranking.
A 1-0 win would be enough for Arsenal to overcome Unai Emery’s team this evening but they have failed to win their previous two knockout games at home – losing 1-0 to Olympiacos and drawing 1-1 with Slavia Prague.
“Time to change it,” Arteta said in his pre-match press conference yesterday morning.
“We have to embrace the challenge, the opportunity we have ahead. I think it’s only the tenth time the club has been in a European semi final so it doesn’t happen very often. We have to take the opportunity tomorrow and earn the right to be in the final.”
The head coach was coy over any fresh personnel concerns but midfielder Dani Ceballos is suspended having been sent off last week while David Luiz is injured. Kieran Tierney and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang have made a return to training but the latter is more likely to start.